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A forum led by candidates running for seats on the village council was held at the Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor last Wednesday evening, addressing such issues as parking, infighting, and commercial development on Roosevelt Road. They were joined by a number of residents who expressed their concerns over the council’s current and future state of affairs.

Candidate John Plepel, who organized the forum, said it was not designed for debate. The forum was meant to introduce residents to six candidates who plan to run for the four village council seats up for election in April. Each candidate introduced himself with background information and their reasons for running.

“I’ve seen things that I’ve liked and haven’t liked on the village council,” said candidate Jerry Webster. “I listen to what people have to say. At this point, that’s the most important thing I can do.”

Following the introductions was a question and answer session with the candidates.

The forum addressed a number of pressing issues and one resident said the current council has “been at war,” prohibiting members from making any positive changes.

“The controversy isn’t here with these candidates,” Commissioner Mark Hosty said. “There’s not the same animosity. This isn’t going to be an ugly campaign.”

Hosty has said he intends to run for re-election.

The filing period for candidates in the April 17, 2007, election is the week of Dec. 11. Should a primary be necessary, that will be held on Feb. 27.

“We all have good listening skills,” candidate Anthony Lazzara said. “We have a stake in the community. We all agree that Forest Park has a lot of potential, and we’re all looking to make a positive change.”

Candidates Rory Hoskins, Webster and Lazzara, who are all parents, spoke of implementing after school programs to ensure the safety of kids. Candidate Michael Curry said that business on Roosevelt Road would triple the village’s revenue, enabling funds for such programs.

“I’d like to manage the traffic that comes through Forest Park, and the speed limits,” Hoskins said. “We also need to create programs that will keep our kids off the street, have them doing something more constructive.”

All of the candidates shared a common interest in the welfare of Forest Park, and all are involved in the community, be it in real estate or traffic safety. Currently, there are six candidates ramping up their campaigns, however, other residents interested in joining the race have until mid-December to do declare their candidacy.

“I’m looking for change,” Forest Park resident Robin Zaverdas said. “If I could just pinpoint it to one thing; freshness is needed.”